Histories of Police, Policing, and Police Unions in the United States

By Matt Guariglia and Charlotte Rosen Police and policing have been an integral theoretical component of liberal capitalist society since its inception—and a near constant in the everyday lives of citizen-subjects since at least the mid-nineteenth century. The Black Lives Matter movement—and the reactionary “Blue Lives Matter” response from U.S. law enforcement—have also recently brought […]

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Rogues of Vancouver

By Madison Heslop At the western edge of the North American continent, before mountains stretch out into the archipelago of what is now Southeast Alaska, the Fraser River empties into the Salish Sea. At the junction of these major regional waterways are the traditional, ancestral, and unceded homelands of the Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-waututh First […]

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Disciplining the City Review Essay 2019

By Matt Guariglia and Charlotte Rosen This week, the United Nations released a human rights report that the massive protests rocking cities across the globe are — surprise — rooted in the massive and deeply-rooted inequalities that continue to divide societies and test the legitimacy of governments. With this current rising tide of global protests […]

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From Community Action to Community Policing: The Ford Foundation and the Urban Crisis, 1960-1975

By Sam Collings-Wells On July 16, 1970, McGeorge Bundy circulated a letter to various US Senators informing them of the Ford Foundation’s “major new program to help strengthen and modernize the exercise of police function in urban areas.”[i] He was referring to the establishment of the Police Foundation, an independent organization which was allocated an […]

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Rethinking Partisanship in the Postwar United States

By Charlotte Rosen In 2016, two Black Lives Matter activists made headlines when they confronted Hillary Clinton at a private fundraiser in Charleston, South Carolina. Holding a sign that contained the words “We have to bring them to heel,” Ashley Williams called on Clinton to “apologize to Black people for mass incarceration.” The sign referenced […]

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Reflections on Disciplining the City

By Matt Guariglia  This year the New York City Police Department announced that it would be integrating a new fleet of drones into its policing procedure for large events. In 2018, the NYPD also announced that it was experimenting with a lasso that would subdue citizens during mental health crises. Even as policing becomes more […]

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Policing Unpolicable Space: The Mulberry Bend

By Matthew Guariglia  During the Progressive Era, there were parts of New York City that police understood as being immune to the exertions of state power. These areas could be rendered illegible and uncontrollable for a number of reasons. In some instances, as I have discussed on The Metropole before, the foreignness of immigrant populations, […]

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Policing the White City

Our third and final entry in The Metropole/Urban History Association Graduate Student Blogging Contest explores the intersection of law enforcement, imperialism, and American racial hierarchies through the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago intended to reflect the high point of U.S. and white Western civilization and, according to reports […]

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Preserving Law and Order: The Fight for Los Angeles’ Parker Center

By Meredith Drake Reitan, MPL, PhD On February 7, 2017, the Los Angeles City Council ruled against colleagues on the Cultural Heritage Commission. After a lengthy and emotional public comment period, the Council decided not to designate Parker Center, the longtime headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department, a local historic monument. The following month, […]

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